Tomorrow I get to stay overnight with my husband. It won’t be the night away we’d hoped for, in a rural B&B or chi-chi city centre hotel, but it will be just the two of us, hanging out together in the same room, sleeping side by side, and trying to find a bit of space and peace together in this crazy situation.
A week ago, Roger moved from the hospital to our local hospice, Wirral St John’s, and it’s the staff there who suggested we try a sleepover to try to get something close to normality for a few precious hours.
If, like me, you’ve never visited a hospice before, you will probably be thinking what I was thinking a few weeks ago. When it was first mentioned to me that Rog would benefit from its care, I completely freaked out. Isn’t a hospice somewhere you go to die? When you’re put out to pasture, to convalesce with a group of other, much older people, living out their last days?
When the word was first mentioned, tears stung my eyes and I spent the rest of the day in a heap, not knowing what we’d do if there was no hope left. Days later, after we were told there was no treatment he could have, the hospice started to sound like a much nicer option. There’s a lovely cafe there, they said, toys for the kids, support for the whole family, aromatherapy, real home-cooked food and even – perhaps the deal clincher – a drinks trolley!
Just a few days later and he was in, breathing a sign of relief to have a change of scene, more comfortable room, a garden view, a window (patio doors, even) which opened to birdsong and fresh air on his face. Just being able to bring the children to see him and let them spread out a little and relax has made a huge difference. It’s still not easy – there have been some conversations I’d hoped I’d never have to have – but it’s an improvement, and for now, we’ll both take that.
Once I’ve stayed over on my own, we’re hoping to decamp as a family and spend a night closer to dad. We might have hoped for a night away in our caravan (our pet project, supposed to be ready for the spring), but instead we’ll try to have something as close to a holiday as we can get.
Wish us luck!